Good Day, My Friends,
It has been a LONGGGGG Time since the last game. And to tell the truth, most of the time due to the Virus, nothing to talk about. The Vols head to Columbia today to play the Gamecocks on Saturday. I guess this will be about how things look for the team and where I think they are as they get on the plane. There are a lot of things we can say, “This looks like, but we will have to see the game’s results.”
At this point the Gamecocks have a lot more questions on both sides of the ball. They lost a bunch of starters and backups on a team that did not have a lot of depth last year. Plus, it does not appear that they potentially filled their holes with newcomers. The off season has not been good to them with injuries to players and kids opting to not play. That is how I see USCe.
Now how do I see the Vols? As a team that Jeremy has improved the talent and depth on both sides of the ball. Everywhere you see the newcomers each year, they have had more size and strength where it is needed (OL, DL, LB) and speed in those positions where it is critical (WR, DB, RB, LB). Note that I listed the LB’s in two areas since Jeremy needs both areas in his defensive schemes. Other than WR and TE, there are a number of returning players that have started and played in games for multiple years.
This is the best OL depth AND TALENT that I have seen in all the years I have followed the Vols. What is amazing to me as of today is with all that talent coming back there are incoming Freshmen that appear good enough to push for early playing time…WOW!! There are multiple players with All SEC talent there. I expect no Freshmen to start, but depending on the game, I would not be surprised to see some to play. I do not expect to see Cade Mays based upon what we have heard to this point from the SEC Office.
The DL’s situation is not as good. They lost a couple of key players and the returning players have not been as consistent in their development. With the returners and the newcomers, the talent, size, and speed appear to be there BUT,,,, will they play to their potential? On a positive note, again the incoming Freshmen DL have shown that Jeremy and his staff know what they want and that they can recruit talent. Again, I do not expect a Freshman to start but I do expect several to play. Delivery of the pass rush is the biggest question.
The RB’s have it all. This is as explosive a group as we have had since Henry and Lewis. This appears to be the best group of RB as receivers in many years if not ever at UT. The Newcomers will add depth with very little drop-off.
WR. The numbers are there, and the returners have played multiple years. Not a lot of game starting assignments as a group, but the returners know the system and the QB’s. The newcomers share multiple common traits. They have SPEED and I am talking Gault and Pickens speed. They all have explosive potential with the ball in their hands. I think that they will play often and early.
TE one thing….??????? At this point this is the weakest group on the roster in both experience and depth, I will not be surprised, and I really expect to see some OL play TE and H Back. Next year’s kids would play if they were there now.
At LB, lots of talent and a good bit of game experience returning, and some really good newcomers. There is not a lot of seasoned depth in this area and in my opinion, this is the group that is most demanding and difficult to recruit in Jeremy’s scheme. Henry is All SEC in my opinion. Others have the potential to play at that level. I expect at least one newcomer to play tomorrow based upon what I have heard from practice reports.
At DB, I think the situation is a lot like LB with more returning starters and depth, but some of the best players have been injury prone. It hurts when a kid starts a game and comes out in the first half with an injury. Worst is that their injuries are leg related and often just require and time to heal. Again, players and newcomers with exceptional talent and potential. I expect some newcomers to play.
On the Special Teams, I think the Kicking has All SEC potential. Punting has been inconsistent. Hopefully, that will improve. On the Special Team Returners… who will it be? Not only with returning players but also with the newcomers there are numbers of explosive players. More speed than any recent years.
Basketball, Next week…. lots of good things to talk about on both teams. I may do Basketball Note during the week to get started.
Go Vols!! Beat the Gamecocks!!